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KEF-2017 agenda, Minsk Urban Forum, DranikFest, Club of Educators – Belarus civil society digest

Programme of KEF-2017 is published. 7th International Congress of Belarusian Studies in Warsaw gathers over 600 researchers. DranikFest guests eat half a ton of potatoes. Minsk Urban Platform presents Ideal Yard project. Two-week Minsk Urban Forum invites to listen to Minsk city....

`The 7th International Congress of Belarusian Studies in Warsaw. Photo: thinktanks.by

Programme of KEF-2017 is published. 7th International Congress of Belarusian Studies in Warsaw gathers over 600 researchers.

DranikFest guests eat half a ton of potatoes. Minsk Urban Platform presents Ideal Yard project. Two-week Minsk Urban Forum invites to listen to Minsk city. Week Against the Death Penalty is held in Belarus.

Golden Age University in Hrodna kicks off 9th educational season for the elderly. First non-conference for schoolteachers will take place in October.

ACT drafts proposal to change NGO tax law. Press Club Belarus invites for its events of the 3rd season.  This and more in the new edition of the Belarus civil society digest.


KEF 2017 presents its agenda. Annual Kastryčnicki/October Economic Forum, KEF will take place on 2-3 November in Minsk. KEF 2017 is aimed at finding solutions that will help lay the foundation for the future of the country and close the gap between politics and practice. The forum is organised by IPM research centre in concert with BEROC and CASE since 2013.

GEW in Belarus will be held in Belarus for the 7th time. Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) will take place on 13-19 November and focus on startups. Workshops on working with startups and developing innovations will be held in the regional capitals for local self-employed businessmen. GEW activities in Belarus are coordinated by Bel.Biz company.

7th International Congress of Belarusian Studies was held on 15-17 September in Warsaw. Over 600 researchers involved in studying Belarus attended the event. Organised by a set of independent think tanks, the annual Congress aims to promote a deeper understanding of Belarus in the country, region, and world. Next year, for the first time in its history, the Congress can take place in Belarus.

Local activism

DranikFest guests ate half a ton of potatoes. On 30 September, for the third time, Mahilioŭ hosted Festival of the most famous Belarusian – draniki/ potato pancakes. The festival gathered around 10 thousand people. Traditionally organised by the Urban Initiatives Centre together with indifferent citizens, the DranikFest is becoming the hallmark of Mahilioŭ city.

DranikFest in Mahilioŭ. Photo: tut.by

Ideal yard. The team of Minsk Urban Platform presented its project – an ideal yard in Serabranka, one of the districts of Minsk. This is a free cars territory with a seating area for children and adults. Activists and the local residents closely interacted to change the yard on their own, starting from negotiations how it should look like to be really convenient for everyone up to joint mounting the equipment.

Minsk Urban Forum held on 19-30 September. The two-week event invites “to listen to Minsk and get better”. The forum topic City as the Process includes several thematic blocks like planning the future development of the city, re-development of former industrial spaces, and civic participation of Minsk residents at various levels. The organiser is Minsk Urban Platform CSO.

Human rights

Week Against the Death Penalty is held in various parts of Belarus on 5-10 October. The key message of the Week is ‘The Death Penalty is the Past’. A series of film screenings, discussion, concerts aims to consider the issue from a wider perspective and ponder on what losses it brings to the community. The first Week Against the Death Penalty was held by the HRCViasna in 2013.

Belarusian Human Library celebrates the 3rd anniversary. On 13 October, Staloŭka XYZ, a creative space in Minsk, will host a festive Human Library that challenges stereotypes and prejudices through dialogue. The event will be held in the format of the international Human Library methodology where people are books on loan to readers.

Belarus hosts Weeks of Sustainable Development 2017, from 25 September to 25 October. The event is held for the fourth time and aims to contribute to the further strengthening of the movement for sustainable development in Belarus. Under the Weeks, over 150 events across Belarus will be held, including 108 in the regions: roundtables, competitions, local festivals, educational events, etc.

Non-formal education

Golden Age University in Hrodna is launching the 9th season. The opening ceremony took place on 5 October. This academic year the University enrolled 150 students aged 55+ and included 50 educational courses. The University works in Hrodna since 2007 for local seniors adhering to the principle of active ageing. The organiser is Practical Competencies StudioThird Sector Centre.

Poster of the Week Against the Death Penalty. Source: spring96.org

Club of Educators. On 7 October, fifty specialists in the additional and non-formal education from different regions of Belarus will gather to create the Club of Educators, a professional community to exchange experience and best practices. This is an initiative of the graduates of educational courses that took place under the Learn to Act project, supported by the EU and DVV International.

Practical Politics School recruits students. The School is aimed at the formation of knowledge and organisational-activity tools to help socially active young people to orient in politics and implement practical political actions. The organisers are the Centre for European Transformation in partnership with the Belarusian Green Party.

First non-conference for schoolteachers EdCamp Belarus will take place on 14 October in Minsk. EdCamp (Education Camp) is an international initiative emerged in the U.S. and spread around the world. The format of non-conference allows the participants to develop themselves an agenda as well as interact after the event. Belarusian organisers are Global Shapers Minsk HUB and the Belarusian School Society.


Proposals for changing tax legislation for CSOs have been prepared by ACT NGO. After collecting signatures under the proposals, they will be sent to the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Taxes and the Department of Humanitarian Affairs. In particular, ACT proposes not to impose an income tax on foreign charity assistance received by CSOs.

Press Club Belarus launches the 3rd season. Press Club as a platform for the professional development of the media community organises regular thematic events. On 26 September, the Media Talk series invites for a meeting on the protection of sources of information. On 2 October, Belarusian media resource KYKY.org will conduct an open editorial briefing.

Belarus Digest prepared this overview on the basis of materials provided by Pact. This digest attempts to give a richer picture of the recent political and civil society events in Belarus. It often goes beyond the hot stories already available in English-language media.

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